has played 12 NHL seasons. Because of this, some might think playing in the season opener on Saturday vs. Columbus at Jobing.com Arena might not mean what it once did to the 31-year-old captain of the Coyotes.
That’s not the case.
“I think I’m more excited with each year because I am realizing how fast time goes by and I’m realizing that you can’t play this game forever and that I haven’t done what I’ve wanted to yet,” Doan said.” And I'm not getting any younger and the opportunities are getting fewer and fewer.”
Doan isn’t anywhere close to retirement, but he knows it’s inevitable for all players. That’s why getting back to the playoffs as soon as possible is important to him.
The Coyotes haven’t reached the postseason with Doan as team captain. That stings. And it motivates him each season.
“Shane has always been a guy who competes really hard and is a great guy away from the rink, but I think now he’s starting to demand a little more from the players,” defenseman Derek Morris
said. “It’s tough to be captain at times. You’ve got to get on guys a little bit and demand them to be better and push them, and if they’re not going good you’ve got to tell them. …I think he’s doing an awesome job at it.”
While Doan’s leadership will be a key, so will his goal production. Slow starts have been the norm for Doan the past few years and he said he’ll look to avod another one in 2008-09. Still, he’s not overly-focused on personal stats.
“Someone once told me ‘don’t worry about being the highest scoring player worry about being the best player,’” Doan said. “And there is a pretty big difference between the two and as I get older I realize I need to make sure I do all the little things and not worry too much about scoring.”
Having All-Star Olli Jokinen around this season should ease Doan’s scoring obligation.
|Shane Doan takes on the Los Angeles Kings last season. |
“Bringing Jokinen on board has really taken a lot of pressure off Shane, not only on the ice but in the locker room, too,” Head Coacvh Wayne Gretzky said. “Olli is a real strong, will-powered guy that works hard every day. And he wants to win and be successful and I think that’s taken a little bit of pressure off of Shane, and they work well together.”
Gretzky admires Doan for his patience and willingness to stay positive as the team continues to rebuild from within with young players.
“Shane has been invaluable to this franchise,” Gretzky said.
Doan will turn 32 on Friday. Asked if he envisions himself playing in the NHL into his mid 40s ala Chris Chelios, Doan chuckled and said no.
But then he added, “I will play as long as I’m having fun and enjoying the game. I love to have fun. When I’m done playing in the NHL, I’ll play hockey somewhere else for fun. I love this sport.”